What is Early Help?

What is Early Help?  

Early Help is intervening as soon as possible to tackle problems emerging for children, young people and their families to improve their outcomes.

Early Help is for pre-birth to age 19 (up to 25 if a young adult has identified Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities).

Early Help allows for support to be put in place at the right time to meet families' needs prior to issues reaching crisis point. It draws upon families' own skills and promotes self-reliance. 

Effective early help relies upon local organisations and agencies working together to:

  • identify children and families who would benefit from early help
  • undertake an assessment of the need for early help
  • provide targeted early help services to address the assessed needs of a child and their family which focuses on activity to improve the outcomes for the child


Whose Job Is It?  

Everyone who works with children, young people and their families has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action. No single practitioner can have a full picture of a child's needs and circumstances.

Early Help is not someone else's job.  We all have a legal responsibility for safeguarding children and young people at the earliest opportunity. We want every child to be safe, healthy, and free from harm and enable all children and young people to achieve the best outcomes. ​​​

The BCP council came into being on 1st April 2019 with the merger of the old authorities of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. The differing Early Help processes and practices of the three old authorities have now harmonised into one, based around the principles of 'Signs of Safety'.


Practitioners Should, in Particular, be Alert to the Potential Need for Early Help for a Child who:

  • is disabled and has specific additional needs
  • has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory Education, Health and Care Plan)
  • is a young carer
  • is showing signs of being drawn into anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups
  • is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home
  • is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation
  • is at risk of being radicalised or exploited
  • is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse
  • is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves
  • has returned home to their family from care
  • is a privately fostered child
  • is showing early signs of abuse and / or neglect.


Early Help Teams across BCP

can now be contacted through the new First Response Hub:

01202 735046


BCP and Partners have published their first 'Service Offer to Schools'